Ms. Rachel Gemo's Notes

Head of Parish School (PK-12) 

In This Week's Notes For Your Reference

  • Teacher Committees for 2018-19 School Year

  • Faculty and Staff FACEBOOK (link)

  • Faculty and Staff Lounge Cleaning Assignments

  • UPLOAD PHOTOS HERE (use this link)

  • Important Dates Coming Up for all to Know (updated for the week)

  • No More Personal Day & Sub Requests for May 2nd and May 3rd (new)

  • If you are volunteering at the NCEA conference - please wear a St. Ben’s Spirit Shirt (new)

  • Important NOTE about NCEA Conference Faculty/Staff Attendee Badges (new)

  • April Employee of the Month Nomination Form (click here) (new)

  • Congrats to Jazel Gabriel - March Employee of the Month! (new)

  • Lent 2019 “Lord, Teach Us How to Pray”  - This week’s focus is Lectio Divina

  • Reading Month reminders For PK-8

  • Tuesday Professional Development Time for PK-8 Teachers, STEAM teachers (updated)

  • Faculty Life Art Event (click)

  • The 19th Police District Steering Committee is hosting its 20th Annual Police Appreciation Day on Friday, May 17th.

  • Faculty Life is planning a Potbelly Potluck April 17th

  • Invitation to teachers to the YDA dance recital

  • Loyola University Chicago's Greeley Center Program Offerings

  • St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Scholarship for AoC Teachers and Staff 

  • Important Updates Regarding the NCEA Conference

  • Catechist Certification – NCEA Convention and Elective Equivalency

  • Resources from Willow House Presentation (CLICK HERE)

  • Thinking about going back to school? Critical Needs Scholarship

  • NCEA April Conference Volunteers Needed - Do you want to lend a hand?

Important Dates Coming Up

  • Tuesday, April 16 - TItle IIA forms due to Rachel Gemo if you’d like to get paid for summer portfolio boot camp

  • Tuesday, April 16 - HSA Teacher Treats in Lounge for PD time; Rep from Barnes and Nobles present to give teacher discount card

  • Wednesday, April 17 - Faculty Potbelly Sandwiches and Potluck Lunch

  • Thursday, April 18 - Holy Thursday Prayer Service - Secondary School at 9:30AM and K-5 at 2:00 pm

  • Friday, April 19 - No School - Good Friday

  • Monday, April 22 - No School - Easter Monday

  • Tuesday, April 23 and Wednesday, April 24 - No School - Teachers/STAFF at NCEA for Professional Development

  • Thursday, April 25 - School Resumes

  • Thursday, April 25 - Middle School Spring Fling Dance

  • Friday, April 26 - Fifth Grade Shadow Day for Middle School

  • Friday, April 26 - High School Senior AGORA Trip to Italy leaves 6:30PM from Courtyard - Viaggi sicuri!

No More Personal Day & Sub Requests for May 2nd and May 3rd (new)

We have a lot of faculty/staff out on these days for a variety of reasons. At this time we can no longer accept requests for personal days, doctor visits, dentist visits, etc. Please work with your schedule to choose another day if you are in need of personal time. Thank you for working with us.

If you are volunteering at the NCEA conference - please wear a St. Ben’s Spirit Shirt (new)

Show off our school pride - wear a faculty spirit shirt or other St. Ben’s gear. Not volunteering but want to, check out the NCEA conference volunteer sign up below at the bottom of this page.

Important NOTE about NCEA Conference Faculty/Staff Attendee Badges (new)

In order to save time, RG will be heading down to McCormick Place on Monday (day before the conference) to pick up all badges/bags so that you don’t need to stand in line for them. There are a lot of us so, they are allowing schools with large registrations like ours to pick our badges up early and all at once. What does this mean for you?

Hopefully, I’ll be back around noon on Easter Monday and will set up all badges in Kathy Moore’s office on the counter. There will be a badge and a goodie/welcome bag for each registered teacher.

If you are catching a ride on the BUS, please plan to be SEATED on the bus at 7:10AM with your badge in hand. We need to leave promptly at 7:15AM to make it to mass on time. We cannot wait. I strongly suggest giving yourself ample time to get here.

If you are going to McCormick Place on your own, pick up your badge from Kathy Moore’s office before you go. You will need a badge to get into the sessions. You can pick it up from school on Monday or early Tuesday morning. If you are coming Monday afternoon, you might want to text RG to make sure they made it there. I have no idea how long it will take me to get them and get back to school. I’ll be there at McCormick Place when they open at 10AM.

You will NOT be able to get your badge at McCormick Place. If you need to make arrangements to have a colleague pick yours up and meet you there, please do so prior to Tuesday morning.

April Employee of the Month Nomination Form (click here) (new)

Please complete the following as detailed as possible. We will be publishing your nomination information with the parish and school staff via the dashboard. Limit your nomination to one parish or school staff member per month. Submit your nomination by Tuesday, April 30. Selection will be made on Wednesday, May 1.

Congrats to Jazel Gabriel - March Employee of the Month! (new)

Here is what his colleagues had to say: Jazel is always happy to stop whatever he is working on to help answer questions or address tech issues. The key word here is "happy." He loves his job and sharing his knowledge. St. Ben's is fortunate to have him on staff!

Here are other nominees from March:

Megan Harris constantly goes above and beyond to help her students and fellow teachers. She is a wonderful leader and example of how to serve joyfully. Megan is great to work with!

Erico Ramirez is a wonderful coworker. He has done a great job with the 4th and 5th graders this year, and the kids love his class. We have enjoyed getting the chance to work more closely with him this year.

Zora Voynovich has been going above and beyond to help the middle school team prepare schedules and help everyone stay on the same page during this busy time of year. She is always a listening ear and willing to help all succeed. We are so lucky to have her here with us to share her passion.

Ellen Landgren has been a great part of the second grade team.  She is always smiling and willing to help out colleagues and students when needed.  

Maggie Deady has done a great job organizing the senior activities over the past month. She shows her dedication and care for these students and her colleague each day. 

Zora Voynovich continues to show great leadership, professionalism and leadership here at St. Benedict. She is an invaluable member of the faculty

Joe Accardi is an invaluable member of the Mission Advancement Team. Congrats on a great job at this year's Gala!  People loved the event. He put so much time into the event...bravo!

Dawn O'Farrell has a caring heart, and wonderful sense of humor. We are blessed to have her at St. Bens. She is a amazing women goes above and beyond everyday with a cheerful grin!!!!!

Erin Kelley never lets her personal life interfere with her patience and kindness towards her students or colleagues. She a good sense of boundaries and good work and life balance.

Summer New Portfolio Curriculum Planning - complete paperwork by Tuesday, April 16

All PK-8 Teachers who plan to attend a summer portfolio curriculum planning bootcamp - either on Wednesday July 25 or Tuesday, August 6 and would like to get paid $125 for your attendance, please complete the following paperwork according to directions, print each page (make sure only one page per document) and turn into Rachel Gemo by Tuesday, April 16 - end of day.

Participants seeking reimbursement/ payment must have an active CPS vendor #. If you don’t have a vendor number, please use this application to apply. Here is a sample of how to complete it. Print file and submit to RG with rest of paperwork.

For approval - please submit the following to Rachel Gemo by April

  1. Statement of Work (SOW)      - complete all areas with personal info where it is highlighted in yellow - this one you sign as consultant

  2. Project Description just print off - don’t sign or change anything

  3. Stipend Encumber        complete all already in yellow - do not sign

  4. Proposal/Description of Services to be rendered (Provided by the Vendor/Teacher on letterhead document) - should outline PD activities, dates or days/hours per week, and total cost of project. * PLEASE PUT TEACHER NAME AND VENDOR NUMBER

Tuesday Professional Development Time for PK-8 Teachers, STEAM teachers (new)

April 16th - PK-5 Teachers will have time to work on their portfolios.

April 16th - Middle School and High School Teachers - Agora Planning

There should be HSA teacher treats in the lounge for you to enjoy. A representative from Barnes and Noble will be there to hand out teacher discount cards.

Reading Month reminders For PK-8:

-Place your printed calendars by your classroom door for students and parents to view. 

-Pass out the bookmarks and reading logs- students need to change "dress as a character day" to April 9th

-Email the calendar and info sheet out in your newsletter each week

If you have any questions please see Megan Peters

Click here for Instruction Sheet

Click here for Calendar

Faculty Life Art Event (click)

On Tuesday, May 7th, all faculty and staff are invited to an art making event with Jackie Stancin. Participants have the chance to work on pieces for this year's Art Fair. This event will begin around 3:30pm. Wine, cheese, light appetizers, and art supplies will be provided. Please use the link above to RSVP.

The 19th Police District Steering Committee is hosting its 20th Annual Police Appreciation Day on Friday, May 17th.  -

Residents and businesses volunteer their time, talent and resources that enable us to organize a marvelous event.  We are calling upon everyone again this year to thank the officers of the 19th District for their outstanding service to our community.  Police Appreciation Day began 20 years ago because of CAPS, Chicago’s Community Policing Program.  The community was able to form relationships with their Beat Officers and the District to work together on local issues. We would like to invite the children at your school to participate in this day of appreciation by making thank you cards.  The cards, letters and posters were displayed throughout the station.  (Please see the attachment.)

 The choice of what you would like to do is up to you, but following are some suggestions.

  • Have the children make a card for an officer

  • Do their own drawings/poems/posters

  • Write letters to the officers

  • Whatever you feel might be appropriate

The drawings and letters we receive will be used as decorations for all the officers to see in the station at 850 W. Addison. 

¨       We will need the items by Thursday, May 9th

SPECIAL REQUEST :  Our District Commander Marc Buslik is retiring in May. If possible, could a few of the children make the Commander a special retirement card?  If you are able to, please keep them separate from the other items.

Faculty Life if planning a Potbelly Potluck April 17th

Faculty Life will bring the Potbelly Sandwiches , please sign up to share a drink , appetizer, dip or chips  with the staff. Please be mindful when taking the sandwiches that they are for the entire staff ! Thank you to everyone that contributes ! 

April 17th Potbelly  Potluck.xlsx

Ms. Yvonne Grabe-Liddell and the Yvonne’s Dance Academy staff and dancers would like to formally invite all St. Benedict Preparatory School and Parish employees to our 11th annual dance recital, liquid grace.

We know our dancers would love your support from the audience, and we would be honored to have you as our guest(s) to help celebrate the art of dance.

Saturday, June 15th

11:00AM matinée performance & 5:00PM evening performance

 Senn High School 5900 N Glenwood Ave Chicago, IL 60660

If you would like to attend, please email with the following information:

  • your name

  • number of tickets

  • SBPS room #

  • which show you would like to attend (AM or PM)

Please let us know by Thursday, April 18th. We hope to see you there! Kindly, Yvonne Grabe-Liddell

Loyola University Chicago's Greeley Center Program Offerings

Applications are now being accepted for three exciting offerings for Catholic school educators from Loyola University Chicago. Each program is designed with the reality of the Catholic school in mind. Scholarships are available for each program. Courses are taught primarily with faculty from the Andrew M. Greeley Center for Catholic Education.  

The M.Ed. in Catholic School Leadership is intentionally designed to prepare candidates to meet the complex challenges of leading today’s Catholic schools. Candidates will learn how to utilize mission and strategy for sustained, substantive school improvement and develop the skills to function as faith leaders of collaborative, capacity-building communities. The program is taught in a hybrid manner with several face to face residency classes and online learning. Each candidate is assigned a coach who will work with the candidate for the duration of the program.

The Instructional Coaching Certification is four-online graduate courses that will focus on the foundations of instructional coaching from a Catholic school lens. Coursework will include the “how-to’s” of instructional coaching, curriculum and instruction for school leaders, MTSS for school leaders, and using data for continuous improvement.

The Leading Inclusive Catholic Schools (LInCS) Certificate program is a four-course online program to build the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to enhance a leader’s ability to build inclusionary programs in Catholic schools. This program will address the professional learning needs of Catholic school administrators and teacher-leaders.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Scholarship for AoC Teachers and Staff 

Applications are now being accepted for the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Scholarship for AoC teachers and staff for FY20. This scholarship is offered to the children of eligible teachers, administrators, and staff members who are currently employed in archdiocesan-run schools. Please forward the eligibility criteria and application instructions found here to your teachers and staff. Applications must be completed in FACTS by May 1 in order to be considered.

Lent 2019 “Lord, Teach Us How to Pray”  

Click here to see this week’s Activities - This week’s prayer focus is STATIONS OF THE CROSS

Here is the link to the video about Eucharistic Adoration to be used as an intro for the kids.

Thanks to Jeremy and Father Steve for making this happen.

Thinking about going back to school? Critical Needs Scholarship

Each year the Archdiocese of Chicago awards the Critical Needs Scholarship to lay employees who are furthering their education in the areas of critical need in the diocese. This assistance is made possible through the commitment of the archdiocese and the generosity of the Catholic colleges and universities in the metropolitan area. Please read the attached letter and flyer for more information. An application andemployer form are included for those who qualify and are interested in applying.

GOING TO NCEA CONFERENCE? Please respond to this updated survey regarding bus transportation.

Teachers, administration and staff who are going to the NCEA conference on Tuesday, April 23 and Wednesday, April 24 should complete the following very quick survey below by April 12th. It is to let me know if you are NOT or ARE PLANNING to require bus transportation to McCormick Place. I had many people ask after the deadline and I want to make sure I have enough room on the bus for all who require transportation. Please note that travel costs and parking will not be reimbursed since we are offering arranged transportation.

The bus arrival and pick up times are as follows:

Tuesday, April 23 - Pick up from school at 7:15AM (to get us there for MASS) and Pick up from McCormick Place at 3:15PM (will allow teachers to attend all but last session of the day).

Wednesday, April 24 - Pick up from school at 8:15AM (note time change - no Mass) and pick up from McCormick Place at 3:45PM (will allow teachers to attend all but last session of the day).


Important Updates Regarding NCEA National Conference in April -


Do You Have Questions About NCEA 2019?
If you are looking for information about the 2019 NCEA Convention and Expo, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page. Here you will find answers to questions regarding travel, food, volunteering, and scheduling. If you have questions which are not answered on this page, please contact Kurt Lewis.

Catechist Certification – NCEA Convention and Elective Equivalency

A number of principals have asked about whether NCEA Convention hours can count toward Catechist Certification requirements for teachers. The attached equivalency chart outlines NCEA Convention hours that can be applied to fulfill elective requirements. Teachers attending the conference will need to record their attendance on their electives form and submit the form once they have completed the required eight elective hours. For your convenience, the attached Catechist Certification Roadmaparticulates expectations for all teachers. Please contact Kenneth Velasquez in the Office of Lifelong Formation with any questions or concerns.

Mobile App Download For the NCEA CONFERENCE

The NCEA mobile app is a robust, complimentary tool. Please download the app prior to arriving at NCEA 2019 to familiarize yourself with the features and functionality. Here is how you can download the app: 
- Search NCEA in the Apple store or Google Play on your device, and download the app option with the white background and the blue/green NCEA logo. It is not the NCEA Conferences app which has a blue background. 
- The app is complimentary, but we highly recommend you download it while you are connected to WiFi for speed and data purposes. You will access the NCEA 2019 data within the button that says conventions. 

NCEA April Conference Volunteers Needed - Do you want to lend a hand?

Thank you in advance to all of our schools for your help volunteering during the NCEA convention! This is a follow up to the special broadcast sent this morning. If you missed the email, you may read the letter here. Below is the link to a sign-up form to volunteer for the convention. We need over 600 volunteers total. We need and appreciate everyone’s help! We ask that all of our principals and teachers sign up for one slot. Volunteer slots are approximately 2 to 2 ½ hours in length.

NCEA Volunteer Form